Title: Girls With Sharp Sticks
Author: Suzanne Young
Published: March 19, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
* ~ * ~ *
Oh my gosh, Suzanne Young (author), what goes on in that mind of yours to make you write things like this??!!?? First The Treatment and now this! Just…wow. I kind of knew what I was getting myself into because both of these books were by the same author but then again, their premises are pretty different. I couldn’t have predicted something like this!! Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.
As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.
Real talk: the title of the book comes from a poem found under the bed of one of the girls at Innovations Academy who is taken away one day. Lennon Rose, they are told, has been having “money problems” back home and can no longer attend the school but after secretly stopping taking her prescribed “vitamins” at bedtime each night, our main character begins to think there may be something bigger going on. Mena shares Girls With Sharp Sticks with the other girls and the idea of men wanting power and girls/women as pretty objects…however, some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.
I found the book to be a little slow in the beginning. I wasn’t fully engaged until a little ways in but once things picked up, I couldn’t put the book down. I love the boarding school setting, the bond between the girls, the near future/dystopian setting, and the echoes of familiarity to certain pop culture stories like Handmaid’s Tale, West World, etc. Plus, I would be lax if I didn’t mention the men and how perverse they are in this book. I can’t go into the full depths of their awfulness without spoiling certain events. Content/trigger warnings for misogyny, body shaming, assault, PTSD, talk of infertility, murder.
What I will say though, is that I find certain dystopians like this to be more terrifying than most horror books and movies. Just the vague possibility that someday the human race could potentially end up in some scenario like this is so unbelievably scary, and at the same time it offers food for thought and a lesson in how to act and how to treat others around us.
The ending I liked (after I picked my jaw up off the floor because I was completely shocked and…just…whoa) and I was satisfied with but apparently there is going to be a second book! I have no idea where Suzanne will be going with it so we’ll see what happens! I’m there for it though!
Book Soundtrack: “Youth” by Daughter